Starting in the 1970s boom boxes provided the soundtrack of urban life -- on the street, buses, subways, parks, and beaches -- boom boxes were everywhere. Now they're almost defunct, music has moved inside, between our ears. We plugged-in and tuned-out from the world around us. The transition from external to internal was slow at first, before the iPod there were other MP3 players, and before that there were portable CD and cassette players. But big and brash boom boxes survived and prospered when those headphone-oriented devices appeared and then disappeared from the scene. If iPods and phones didn'… Read more
A couple of weeks ago I asked Audiophiliac readers to vote in my "What's the worst audio format?" poll, so now let's find out what you guys think is the best audio format. As in that poll, sound quality isn't the only criteria -- how you use the format and other factors may come into play.
I love vinyl but play more CDs, mostly because the selection of contemporary music is vastly greater on CD than it is on LP. I listen to Apple Lossless files on my iPod Classic when I'm on the … Read more
Jamey Warren owns a terrific headphone Web site, HeadRoom, and it's been a valuable resource for headphone buyers for 20 years. Since he already stocks a large inventory of headphones opening a physical store seemed like the next logical step. Great idea, but Warren's company is based in Bozeman, MT, a small town of less than 40,000 people. The store required additional staff and Warren had to rent a space downtown, but he was eager to take the chance. He sees the store as a work in progress, and if all goes according to plan Warren will … Read more
They look similar to custom-molded in-ear monitors from Ultimate Ears and Westone, but the StageDivers are universal-fit models that come with silicone ear tips. The large earpieces rest on the folds of your outer ear, so the fit feels more secure than in-ears that stick out from your ears. Both InEar models have user replaceable cables, … Read more
I recently received an e-mail from a reader, Raul, whose daughter is deaf in one ear. She loves music, but with headphones she'd only get one channel.
While my initial thought was for a fairly simple fix, as I researched to be sure, it turned out to be more complex than I figured.… Read more
2014 isn't shaping up as a stellar year for Sony, the company is forecasting losses of $1.1 billion, but I think a serious effort to reestablish its stature as a leading headphone manufacturer might be a wise move. Sony currently offers a vast range of headphone models, but they don't have any truly great ones. With the ongoing boom in headphone sales, you have to wonder why Sony is sitting on the sidelines.
There are many types of headphones, and if you understand the pros and cons of each before you go shopping, you'll make a more informed buying decision. Closed- and open-back headphones sound very different and serve different needs. To learn more about how they differ I spoke with two engineers, Sennheiser's Axel Grell and AKG's Philipp Schuster, and thanks go out to them. Today I'll look at open- and closed-back headphones; I covered on- and over-the-ear headphones in yesterday's blog item.… Read more
I get a lot of reader emails seeking recommendations for headphones, and sometimes they'll ask about two very different types of designs. For example, "What should I buy, Sennheiser's on-ear Momentum or the AKG K 712 'phones?" In that case there's no obvious "better" headphone, because they are two radically different types of headphones. The Sennheiser is an on-ear, closed-back design, and the AKG K 712 is a much larger over-the-ear, open-back headphone. It's like asking "What's better, a Ford F-150 Raptor truck or a Porsche 911 Turbo sports car? … Read more
If you've laid down serious cash for a great pair of headphones but they're plugged into your phone or computer, you're missing out on a lot of the sound quality you paid for. Don't get me wrong, phones and tablets can sound acceptable, but their designers didn't focus on sound quality -- that's the last thing they worry about. The cure for so-so sound is straightforward: invest in a high-performance digital converter/headphone amp, like the Cypher Labs Theorem 720. It can be used with iPhones, Android phones, or computers via USB connection with … Read more
Do you need buttons to play games on your iPhone? Certainly not. And yet, iOS MFi-certified game controllers are here, giving you the promise of full game controller-like support for games and letting you theoretically use your phone or iPod Touch like a little Nintendo 3DS or PlayStation Vita.
The Logitech Powershell Controller + Battery is one of those accessories. As its name suggests, it's a case that adds physical gaming buttons, and also has a battery pack. It also costs $99.99. For most people, that's where the train skids off the tracks.
Whether you want an iOS … Read more